What did you get for your 40th birthday? A new putter? A fuzzy bathrobe? A sinking feeling that your life isn't going the way you planned it? For some hot rodders, the 40-year mark really puts you at a crossroad-when the second half of your life has arrived and is sitting on your doorstep.
So, with only a handful of options, what better way to celebrate your 40th than to go car shopping for the car you've always dreamed about? Luckily for Ed Klein, he's married to a woman who understands his car needs, and it was her suggestion that spurred him to actually start looking for some type of vehicle he could build a hot rod out of.
When he was a younger lad, Ed worked as a mechanic in a shop that catered to older classics, and one such car he worked on was a 12-cylinder '28 Rolls. Though restoration was in his blood, so was a strain of hot rodding. So, back in 1993 when Ed's wife, Sharon, showed him a clipping she'd saved from the paper that offered a '35 Chevy coupe, Ed thought he might have to take a look at it.
What he bought was a Master Deluxe Sport Coupe-a fairly rare Chevy three-window with a rumble seat (Ed believes less than 2,500 were ever made). It also happened to be a '36, not a '35 as quoted in the paper. He liked the uniqueness of the coupe but, after travelling around to local swap meets in Hershey and Carlisle, he soon learned how unique it was in that the parts and pieces he needed for it were quite rare (and therefore expensive).
A restoration had been started on the car at one time, even though the last time it had been registered was in 1950. Basically solid, Ed kept the car together for more than a year while he gathered up the parts he needed. After that, he went full-bore and blew the body off the chassis, took the engine and trans out, and completely disassembled the car.
One word to describe Ed's Chevy would be "elegant," partly due to the design of the spare
After a year he decided to move the project to a rented shop, but found after a period of time the location was too far from home to make working on the car easy. He then built a nice two-car shop at home, only to be relocated in 1999 to Texas due to his job with UPS.
The next job was to box everything up, move it with all of his belongings to Texas, and hope to find some space and time to get going on it again. It was that point when Sharon stepped back into the car-building picture and suggested Ed get some help in finishing the project.
As it turned out, the car was 45 miles away from the Klein's home near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was out in the country, and owned by a man that owned and operated a small sawmill. When he arrived at the mill, he was told that the car was over in a barn, which was 200 yards down a dirt road from the shop. Upon opening its doors, Ed immediately thought to himself: "Sold!" The car had been put up on blocks and had the passenger rear fender off, as the wheel had been connected to a belt that ran one of the mill's saws!
So it was fate when Ed was driving to work when he noticed a shop off the highway near Cumby, Texas, that had a few old cars parked out front. It seemed to Ed that no one was ever there, but after he saw the doors open one day he decided to pull off and talk to whoever owned the place.
The shop, called Hot Rods by JSK, was owned by Jeff Kinsey, and Ed had several chats with Jeff before asking him about his Chevy project. Confident that Jeff knew what he was talking about, Ed delivered his parts and pieces (all separated into small, labeled plastic bags) to JSK for sorting.
Jeff and his team have been building award-winning cars for some time (including some that have won Street Rodder Top 100 awards), so Ed was lucky to find him. And, as anyone who has owned an early Chevy knows, replacing the wood inner structure with steel is quite a chore, but it was the first order of business JSK completed.
Along the way, JSK also assembled the chassis (using a Heidt's frontend and a 9-inch rear); fab'd up a firewall and the floorpans, and scratchbuilt the rain gutter around the rumble seat (similar to a Ford as the Chevys didn't have one, per se). Recreating some of the hardware for the missing rear fender were on the list, too, as well as fabricating the rear spare tire mount. JSK used the original outside bracket and had a custom wheel made by Budnik to fit a 15-inch tire. They then moved the gas filler to run through the center of the spare tire using the original flip-up gas cap for the center of the wheel. JSK then made a custom steel wheel cover to mimic the stock 1936 cover Ed had when he got the car.
Underhood is an LT1 equipped with a Powermaster alternator, a pulley system and dress-up k
JSK continued the build with the body and paintwork, eventually covering the car with a DuPont Carbon Blue paint, which has been used on some BMWs a few years back. After a 1 1/2-year build, the Chevy was ready for Ed and Sharon to use, and they have since racked up 2,500 miles on the odometer in the Bow Tie (Ed says travelling more than 45,000 miles a year for his job prevents him from accruing more miles).
And though he's eyeing a possible retirement, he doesn't believe he'll be curtailing his passion for hot rods any time soon-he owns a handful of old trucks (a '36 Chevy, a '47 GMC, and a '57 Chevy), a '51 Buick, a '60 Biscayne, and a '66 Galaxie (of which he is the third owner). Getting them all to the level of his '36 might be something of a trick, but something Ed, now 55, looks forward to spending his time doing.
The dash, after being color-coded to the rest of the interior, is equipped with a trio of
For 1936, Ed's Chevy is actually a large car-it's set up on a 113-inch wheelbase (as oppos
Facts & Figures
1936 Chevy Master Deluxe Sport Coupe
|Frame / Manufacturer ||C style with X-type crossmember / Chevrolet |
|Wheelbase ||113” |
|Modifications ||frame boxed, new crossmembers installed |
|Chassis plumbing ||polished stainless steel fuel and brake lines |
|Rearend / Ratio ||9” Ford / 3.55:1 |
|Rear suspension ||Deuce Factory four-bar with Carrera coilovers |
|Rear brakes ||12” drilled and slotted rotors, polished aluminum Wilwood calipers |
|Front suspension ||Heidt’s Mustang II with 2” dropped spindles, Carrera coilover shocks |
|Front brakes ||12 ½” drilled and slotted rotors, polished aluminum Wilwood calipers |
|Master cylinder ||GM power brake booster and dual master cylinder |
|Steering ||TRW power rack-and-pinion |
|Front wheel make, size ||Budnik Diamond Fat Lip, 17 x 7 |
|Rear wheel make, size ||Budnik Diamond Fat Lip, 18 x 8 |
|Front tire make, size ||Bridgestone Potenza, 225/45ZR17 |
|Rear tire make, size ||Bridgestone Potenza, 225/45ZR18 |
|Gas tank ||custom stainless steel, 22-gallon |
|Make ||1997 Corvette LT1 |
|Displacement ||350 cubic inches |
|Machining / Assembly ||GMC factory |
|Cooling fan ||electric |
|Radiator ||Walker |
|Alternator ||Powermaster one-wire |
|Valve covers ||polished aluminum from Street & Performance |
|Manifold / Induction ||port fuel injection |
|Ignition / Wires ||treet & Performance |
|Headers ||block huggers |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||2 1/2”, coated by High Performance Coatings / Flowmaster Hush Power mufflers |
|Other engine facts ||Street & Performance serpentine pulley system and engine cover kit |
|Make ||GM 700-R4 |
|Shifter ||custom column-style with drop |
|Trans mods ||shift kit |
|Driveshaft ||custom steel |
|Body style / Material ||coupe / steel |
|Body manufacturer ||Fisher, for GM |
|Hood ||original |
|Grille ||original (replated) |
|Bodywork ||all wood replaced by steel around the doors, windows, rumble seat. Smooth running boards added |
|Paint ||Carbon Blue |
|Painter ||Hot Rods by JSK (Cumby, TX) |
|Graphics ||subtle pinstripe on beltline |
|Headlights / Taillights ||original |
|Outside mirror ||I&I Reproductions |
|Bumpers ||original (replated) |
|Dash ||factory dash with colormatched glove box |
|Gauges ||Hainline |
|Stereo / Speakers ||Kenwood / two Planet Audio amps with 8" subs and 4 6.5" speakers |
|Air conditioning ||Vintage Air |
|Insulation ||Design Engineering, Inc. |
|Wiring ||Painless Wiring |
|Steering wheel ||Budnik Saturn |
|Steering column ||custom by Hot Rods by JSK |
|Seats ||Interior Supply Service (Fort Worth, TX) |
|Upholsterer ||Hot Rods by JSK |
|Material / Color ||Ultra Leather / two-tone pecan & taupe |
|Carpet ||medium oak wool |
|Other interior items ||original rumble seat with bumper- and fender-steps to get into the rumble seat |